Edition Axel Menges GmbH Esslinger Straße 24 D Stuttgart-Fellbach tel fax - PDF

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Edition Axel Menges GmbH Esslinger Straße 24 D Stuttgart-Fellbach tel fax Opus 32 Frank O. Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa With an introduction by Kurt W. Forster

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Edition Axel Menges GmbH Esslinger Straße 24 D Stuttgart-Fellbach tel fax Opus 32 Frank O. Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa With an introduction by Kurt W. Forster und photographs by Ralph Richter. 56 pp. with 65 ill., 280 x 300 mm, hard-cover, English ISBN Euro 29.90, sfr 53.00, 24.00, US $ 19.95, $A There is no doubt at all that Gehry s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is one of the most spectacular buildings of recent years. The building raised high expectations from the outset, as the central element in Bilbao s comprehensive urban renewal programme. Its site between river, railway, bridge and new town makes it a symbol of the Basque metropolis that can be seen from a considerable distance. It is both the heart of the city and a testbed for the arts, representing both public presence and artistic change. The process by which it was created demonstrates the most recent advances in computer-aided design, and in material manufacture. For a long time design and building were broken down into a large number of individual components. Gehry s museum unifies this process, and is thus able to create fluent links between architectural detail and urban impact. But the innovations do not stop at technology, they also extend to the way in which the interior spaces are shaped; these are extremely varied in form, as the museum is not so much designed to house a permanent exhibition of the collection, but to enable artists to create installations. In contrast with the usual neutral gallery spaces, Gehry offers a whole variety of stages for artistic presentation. His artist friends have risen to the challenge of his architecture and are experimenting very successfully with this new way of showing their work to the public. Kurt W. Forster studied art history, literature and archeology at the universities in Berlin, Munich and Zurich, rounding out his studies in Florence and London. He taught at Yale University (1960 to 1967), Stanford University ( ) and MIT ( ). He was the first Director of the newly established Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Santa Monica ( ). After that he taught again, now at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich ( ). Then he was director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal ( ). Ralph Richter studied at the Fachhochschule in Dortmund. He rapidly made a name for himself as an architectural photographer. He has photographed buildings by Santiago Calatrava, Coop Himmelblau, Norman Foster, Volker Gienke, Uwe Kiessler and Alessandro Mendini. He also took the photographs for Opus 21: Norman Foster, Commerzbank, Frankfurt am Main. Distributors Brockhaus Commission Kreidlerstraße 9 D Kornwestheim Germany tel fax Gazelle Book Services White Cross Mills Hightown Lancaster LA1 4XS United Kingdom tel fax National Book Network NBN Way Blue Ridge Summit, PA USA tel fax Opus Architecture in individual presentations Editor: Axel Menges 1 Rudolf Steiner, Goetheanum, Dornach 2 Jørn Utzon, Houses in Fredensborg 3 Jørgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert, Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk 4 Aurelio Galfetti, Castelgrande, Bellinzona 5 Fatehpur Sikri 6 Balthasar Neumann, Abteikirche Neresheim 7 Henry Hobson Richardson, Glessner House, Chicago 8 Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona 9 Richard Meier, Stadthaus Ulm 10 Santiago Calatrava, Bahnhof Stadelhofen, Zürich 12 Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Charlottenhof, Potsdam-Sanssouci 13 Pfaueninsel, Berlin 14 Sir John Soane s Museum, London 15 Enric Miralles, C.N.A.R., Alicante 16 Fundación César Manrique, Lanzarote 17 Dharna Vihara, Ranakpur 18 Benjamin Baker, Forth Bridge 19 Ernst Gisel, Rathaus Fellbach 20 Alfredo Arribas, Marugame Hirai Museum 21 Sir Norman Foster and Partners, Commerzbank, Frankfurt am Main 22 Carlo Scarpa, Museo Canoviano, Possagno 23 Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park 24 Kisho Kurokawa, Kuala Lumpur International Airport 25 Steidle + Partner, Universität Ulm West 26 Himeji Castle 27 Kazuo Shinohara, Centennial Hall, Tokyo 28 Alte Völklinger Hütte 29 Alsfeld 30 LOG ID, BGW Dresden 31 Steidle + Partner, Wacker-Haus, München 32 Frank O. Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa 33 Neuschwanstein 34 Architekten Schweger+Partner, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe 35 Frank O. Gehry, Energie-Forum-Innovation, Bad Oeynhausen 36 Rafael Moneo, Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 37 Schneider+Schumacher, KPMG-Gebäude, Leipzig 38 Heinz Tesar, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg 39 Arup, Hong Kong Station 40 Berger+Parkkinen, Die Botschaften der Nordischen Länder, Berlin 41 Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, Halle 3, Messe Frankfurt 42 Heinz Tesar, Christus Hoffnung der Welt, Wien 43 Peichl / Achatz / Schumer, Münchner Kammerspiele, Neues Haus 44 Alfredo Arribas, Seat-Pavillon, Wolfsburg 45 Stüler / Strack / Merz, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin 46 Kisho Kurokawa, Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan 47 Bolles + Wilson, Nieuwe Luxor Theater, Rotterdam Euro sfr US $ $A ISBN Frank O. Gehry Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa Menges Frank O. Gehry Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa There is no doubt at all that Gehry s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is one of the most spectacular buildings of recent years. As the central element in Bilbao s comprehensive urban renewal programme the building raised high expectations from the outset. Its site between river, railway, bridge and new town makes it a symbol of the Basque metropolis that can be seen from a considerable distance. It is both the heart of the city and a testbed for the arts, representing both public presence and artistic change. The process by which it was created demonstrates the most recent advances in computer-aided design and in material manufacture. For a long time design and building were broken down into a large number of individual components. Gehry s museum unifies this process and is thus able to create fluent links between architectural detail and urban impact. But the innovations do not stop at technology, they also extend to the way in which the interior spaces are shaped. These are extremely varied in form, as the museum is not so much designed to house a permanent exhibition of the collection, but to enable artists to create installations. In contrast with the usual neutral gallery spaces Gehry offers a whole variety of stages for artistic presentation. His artist friends have risen to the challenge of his architecture and are experimenting very successfully with this new way of showing their work to the public. Kurt W. Forster studied art history, literature and archaeology at the universities in Berlin, Munich and Zurich, rounding out his studies in Florence and London. He taught at Yale University ( ), Stanford University ( ) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( ). He was the first director of the newly established Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Santa Monica ( ), where he inaugurated a broadly based programme of research and publications. After that he taught at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich ( ). Before achieving his most recent position as director of the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio he was director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal ( ). Forster s research focuses on the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance and the 20th century. Ralph Richter studied at the Fachhochschule in Dortmund. He rapidly made a name for himself as an architectural photographer. He has photographed buildings by Santiago Calatrava, Coop Himmelblau, Norman Foster, Volker Gienke, Uwe Kiessler and Alessandro Mendini. He also took the photographs for Opus 21: Norman Foster, Commerzbank, Frankfurt am Main. Frank O. Gehry Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa Text Kurt W. Forster Photographs Ralph Richter Edition Axel Menges Editor: Axel Menges Kurt W. Forster: The museum as civic catalyst Plans Floor plans 12 sections 16 elevations 20 Pictorial section General views 22 Detail views 28 The atrium 38 Galleries 50 Final view 54 Credits 1998 Edition Axel Menges, Stuttgart/London ISBN Third, revised edition All rights reserved, especially those of translation into other languages. Printing: Druckhaus Münster GmbH, Kornwestheim Binding: Großbuchbinderei Fikentscher GmbH, Seeheim-Jugenheim Design: Axel Menges Kurt W. Forster The museum as civic catalyst Museums emerged as public institutions in the early nineteenth century. As long as only one wing of a noble residence, or even an entire building, was designated as a picture gallery, the museum in the modern sense of the term had not yet taken form, for only as an independent structure on a prominent urban site could it begin to play its role as cultural protagonist. Not unlike the grand theater buildings that preceded the museum, and the railroad stations that followed it, the first shrines of art made their appearance in a number of cities within an astonishingly short time. Karl Friedrich Schinkel s Altes Museum (1823 to 1830) in Berlin s Lustgarten combined an eminently educational purpose with a location in the privileged ambit of the royal palace. Its colonnaded facade and ample vestibule lured visitors from the Lustgarten, leading them through an elegant escalier royal toward an elevated balcony: from on high, framed by grand Ionic columns, a panoramic view of the city opened up before them, while, behind them, on the walls of the vestibule, the story of human civilization unfolded in a single sweep with a series of painted scenes. With his programmatic siting of the museum, Schinkel brought a new bourgeois institution face to face with the royal palace, which in turn would face up to the new presence of the public within a domain previously reserved for the monarchy. Flanking the cathedral on the island of the Spree, and acting as a foil to the prospect from Unter den Linden, Schinkel s museum was ideally placed and designed to serve the purposes that the Berlin philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel had attributed to the temple in Greek antiquity:»among these single and double colonnades that lead immediately into the open, we see the people move freely, in casual groups or alone... In this way the impression of the temple is at once simple and grand, but also serene, open, and pleasant inasmuch as the entire building is apt to offer a place to stroll, to assemble, to come and go at will.«1 No more effective site and no more compelling scheme could be imagined for the display of historic schools of painting in galleries and selected works of sculpture in the central rotunda. In this way, Schinkel brilliantly inaugurated the dual purpose of modern museums by creating a grand public effect upon the city on the one hand, and offering a point of observation from which the cityscape assumed a new coherence and significance on the other. While the history of collecting is long and complicated, the museum is a relatively recent institution and yet it has already witnessed dramatic transformations. 2 Museums found their initial identity in the royal treasure house and the private cabinet of curiosities. They gradually expanded to accommodate ever larger accumulations of artifacts and increased public access through the nineteenth century; only recently have they assumed a much more spectacular role in cultural life. 3 What had been a place of contemplation, where rigorously selected works of art were held up to public admiration as models for aesthetic judgment, in due course began to welcome the likes of photography, cinema, and video to its collections, but above all, museums adopted the idea of performance as a way of overcoming their past identity as dusty repositories. In the twentieth century, a new kind of exhibition inspired by the experience of temporary exhibitions at the world s fairs of the nineteenth century came into 1. Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Altes Museum, Berlin, 1823 to Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, Centre national d art et de culture Georges Pompidou (Beaubourg), Paris, (Photo: Richard Einzig.) 3. Hans Hollein, Guggenheim Museum, Salzburg, 1989, project. being. The»loan exhibition«burst onto the scene, stirring the public with its theatrical nature and its often nationalistic or otherwise partisan purposes. Although rare and ephemeral at first, loan exhibitions have completely transformed the modern museum and permanently altered the public s perception of art in general. Only a handful of museums remain aloof, refusing to lend works of art and abstaining from showing anything but their own permanent holdings, while the special exhibition has almost become the standard form by which museums keep rekindling the interest of their public. What has happened, in effect, amounts to a reversal of the museum s original purpose. No longer is its primary mission to uphold the exclusive value of highly select works of art; rather it propagates knowledge of many diverse and often competing if not mutually exclusive artistic practices. Such changes in their role did not leave the form of museum buildings unaffected. If museums were initially conceived to display finite bodies of individual works, they began to present ever larger masses of specialized artifacts, only to assume gradually an identity far closer to that of theaters. Today, museums have become venues for exhibitions of works from far and near, assembled according to ever different ideas and standards, and put on display for a short season or sent on tour to different cities. The dramatic changes that have transformed the purposes of the museum did not entirely overwhelm its origins, but they have certainly changed the nature of its operations. The maintenance of permanent collections and the fairly frequent modification of their display remain central to many institutions, yet the presentation of a museum s traditional core collection has been deeply affected by recent events. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao extends this general development a step further: conceived to form a link in a possible chain of institutions under the aegis of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Bilbao becomes the test site of an entirely novel museological concept. After Peggy Guggenheim s death, her private 6 7 museum in Venice reverted to the mother house in New York in Director Thomas Krens began to envision further expansion of its ambit to yet other cities: in 1989, he tested the waters in Salzburg, and, after Hans Hollein s operatic project for a museum hewn from a rocky cliff failed to materialize, Krens moved on to open a temporary branch of the Guggenheim in Berlin and laid the groundwork for an affiliated museum in Bilbao. The»modern«idea of developing a chain of museums is both startling when considered in light of the innate conservatism of museums and disarmingly simple. If museums are indeed the unsuspecting heirs of the theater, then the idea of a chain of houses is only a logical consequence of their new condition. Instead of confining works of art to the place where they have found a permanent home, more often than not as a matter of accident rather than design, they would be periodically rotated, shown in changing assembly and under differing local conditions. Over time, the growing body of a set of collections would begin to form a larger pool of works than any single museum might ever hope to acquire for itself. The practice of loan exhibitions has not declined to the degree that was often prophesied, because modern methods of conservation and shipment manage to contain, to a degree, the negative effects traveling exhibitions can have on works of art, and, in any case, the ability to obtain loans depends as much on reciprocal lending as on the curatorial and logistical soundness of exhibition projects. Major loan exhibitions continue to be planned well into the next century, and the idea of linking up several museums on different continents for the purpose of endowing each one of them temporarily with works they could otherwise rarely if ever display may well be realistic. This new»franchising«of museum collections represents one response, and a precisely calibrated one at that, by which museums might react to the conditions that define their operation throughout the world. 4 These expectations for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao surely played a role in its architectural conception. In 1991, Thomas Krens invited three architects to Bilbao, asking them to sketch out their ideas for a museum building in keeping with this novel pur- 4. Frank O. Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa, 1991 to (Photo: Ralph Richter.) 5. Alvar Aalto, Essen Opera House, Francesco Borromini, Collegio de Propaganda Fide, Rome, (Photo: Harry Seidler.) 7. Frank O. Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, 1988, project. pose. Hans Hollein had already imagined a fantastic grotto carved from the Mönchsberg in Salzburg, and Arato Isozaki, another contender, already had several museums in Japan and the United States to his credit. Coop Himmelblau, the only match for Frank Gehry in terms of the theatricality of their previous projects, had built a pavilion for Alessandro Mendini s Museum in Groningen (1989/90), but they had not yet managed to secure a major commission for a metropolitan museum. Their experience with temporary installations and studio buildings for artists like Anselm Kiefer argued in their favor. Thomas Krens s choice of architect was tempered by his previous experiences with museum projects and the ways their architects had of conceiving of them in terms of their recent typology and urban role. Almost two decades earlier, the opening of the Beaubourg museum in Paris marked the advent of museums that owe their identity less to permanent collections than to viceral impact. 5 Intended from the beginning as the venue for highly diverse events, the Beaubourg has lived up to its promise, and remains today the preferred exhibition site for visitors and Parisians alike. Never mind its obvious shortcomings inadequate as the building may be for the display of paintings, unsound as it may be in its physical maintenance, and unsung as it is in the inconvenience it imposes on its staff the Beaubourg fulfills the new museum s purposes above all by dint of its urban prominence. Comparable to an»aircraft-carrier of culture«, the Beaubourg berthed the idea of the»maison de la culture«in one of the neglected precincts of Paris, playing up its purpose as an attraction for the uninitiated as well as sophisticated elites. Just as Les Halles were once the place where the bourgeoisie went for oysters and champagne at midnight, the new cultural tourism now finds its mecca among collections dedicated to industrial design, film, video art, and a spectacular rooftop view of Paris thrown in for good measure. The Beaubourg s success is primarily one of urban function and cultural image, along the lines of the postwar Citroën and high-speed trains, and it also promised to vindicate French culture in the face of the worldwide expansion of the American avant-garde. Ever since the Beaubourg opened in 1977, not only do new museum buildings need to stand the test as adequate repositories of art, but they are also expected to act as catalytic agents of urban transformation. These new museums help induce campaigns for the revitalization of derelict urban territory, as on the South Bank in London 6 or in the Amsterdam harbor, where Renzo Piano s new Metropolis Museum of Science opened in Already in 1988, with his winning entry in the competition for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Frank O. Gehry ushered in a decisive stage in the evolution of cultural buildings. Two major art institutions herald equally definitive moments: Richard Meier s Getty Center in Los Angeles and Frank Gehry s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. In both instances, the architect was asked to conceive work on a scale and in a location that perilously challenged the limits of any living architect s ability. Significantly, the institution
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